HOW DID I BECOME PRESIDENT? Well, I created a monster. Starting out as a simple idea, it quickly became as unmanageable as the evil villain in your worst-favorite horror film. In time, it infiltrated the world, oozing into every orifice and crevice.
The villain’s name? Brazen Full Disclosure (or BFD, as the social-networking world shortened it).
The fundamental theory of BFD? Preempt any fear that one’s deeply buried life secrets might be exhumed by self-exposing them, posting them on the Internet and linking to relevant documents. In other words, no secrets equals no lurid exposés equals no worries.
The Personal Data Proprietary Law established that only individuals themselves are legally permitted to release their own private information.
The controversies have been roaring ever since, including demands that certain information (especially concerning public figures) belonged in the public domain. Opposing howls from elected officials that private information should be kept private were just as strong, but I thought, errant. After all, would a slave owner have voted for abolition?
I held that the way for an elected official to thwart misuse of private information was by self- exposing all such data, while at the same time requiring equal government transparency. An idea that initially alarmed conservatives as much as liberals.
Nobody said that starting a political reformation was easy.
I began by setting an example – hanging out my own dirty laundry in front of Village Earth right from the start. Every ugly little life secret became a matter of public record. Of course, that included sordid love-life details. Infamously, there was the older man whom I’d known biblically in college. This brief entanglement was evidenced by a hotel ledger sporting a false name. My marriage license, a public re-cord, has my real signature. No handwriting expert needed to see that the scribbler of both were one and the same.
Then there was my driving record, including a too recent country road 90-mile-an-hour Mustang outing.
My voting record, complete with holes and contradictions, was made public. As were memberships in Amnesty International, ADL, CAIR, People of Faith Network and the ACLJ. Then there was my expired membership in the ACLU. All out in the open.
Every tax return since my first. (Okay, so I didn’t make a six-figure income doing mailings from home.)
Most relevant and important of all, I disclosed complete details of those who contributed to my campaign – names and amounts.
The American political establishment was appalled. Though not my intention, I had thrown down the gauntlet to every other candidate in the running. Any vote chaser who refused to disclose the full details of his or her contributors was seen, at worst, as crooked or minimally, untrustworthy. The electorate exercised their voting power accordingly.
Postings on the web, links to the details of campaign finances, yet more details. Not just names, corporate positions and incomes, but hyperlinks to balance sheets, Boards of Directors, each Board member’s position on other Boards…
Wider and wider; deeper and deeper.
Starting as a chain of links, the details morphed into a web of interlaced documents spanning further than one could imagine. BFD became an infection that spread unfettered through corporations and governments alike.
Fund raising would never be the same.
Although my political opponents finally began to grasp the implications of BFD, they were too slow to embrace its full potential. I had out-danced them. So despite their expensive and not so clever attempts to sabotage my campaign, American voters were not fooled. How can you entrap a candidate who has no secrets? For a political establishment that saw elections in terms of who could bulldoze the most dirt on their opponents, I was a wild card.
My final opponent in the Presidential race used a televised debate to bring up that (now infamous) speeding ticket and memberships in “controversial” organizations. I laughed off the barb and dismissed the information as old news. Then followed up by challenging him to prove his claims to moral superiority by disclosing full details of his personal life. Left staring into the camera, eyes wide as those of a Hobbit caught in headlights, he would later admit it was at that moment he knew he’d committed political suicide.
I was elected to the White House by the largest landslide in history.
Of course, there is a downside to all this. Try explaining that a certain infamous underwear line is also super-comfortable when your shopping habits are out there for all to see.
Claims of discrimination by politicians
who refused to disclose their
voting or driving records,
much less any other personal information,
were dismissed by the courts.
Judges kept asking the plaintiffs what
they thought “public” servant means.